A Statewide, One-Book Community Reading Program
Vermont Reads 2006
As Long as There Are Mountains by Natalie Kinsey Warnock
“The farm wasn’t just where I lived,
it was who I was, and without it,
I wasn’t sure who I was anymore.
– Iris from As Long as There Are Mountains
The dissolution of the family farm, neighbors helping neighbors, the questioning of gender roles, combating poverty, overcoming a disability—all sound like hot-button issues today. They also happen to be pertinent themes in VHC’s Vermont Reads book for 2006—the young adult novel, As Long as There Are Mountains by Vermont resident and acclaimed author Natalie Kinsey-Warnock.
As Long as There Are Mountains tells the story of Iris, a thirteen-year-old girl living with her farm family in the Northeast Kingdom. Iris, whose lyrical, and often witty, voice narrates the novel, loves the land and farming and desperately wants to take over the family business someday. Her father has other ideas. He assumes Lucien, Iris’s brother, will do it, though Lucien balks at the plan; he wants to be a writer. Two major catastrophes ensue, creating much uncertainty. Well-drawn family and community relationships make the novel a moving and enriching read for all ages.
The book’s focus on the land and relationships between individuals and the community-at-large are a natural follow-up to Seedfolks, the 2005 Vermont Reads book. More than sixty community groups participated in Seedfolks. As Long as There Are Mountains offers opportunities for partnerships with 4-H groups, land trusts, farming organizations, Habitat for Humanity, and others.
Kinsey-Warnock, who has written nearly twenty books for children and young adults, says she’s “thrilled that the Vermont Humanities Council has chosen my book. Such wonderful books have been picked in the past. I feel so honored to be included with that group of authors.”
All of Kinsey-Warnock’s books are based on family stories. The Canada Geese Quilt, which won numerous honors, is based on Kinsey-Warnock and her grandmother. When she speaks to students about this book, Kinsey-Warnock shows her grandmother’s quilts to illustrate that everyone has colorful stories in their families. “I tell the students that they, too, can research and write these stories,” says the author. Kinsey-Warnock will make author appearances in the spring and fall to kick off and conclude Vermont Reads.
In all, more than 60 Vermont communities took part in Vermont Reads 2006.
Vermont Public Radio featured a Vermont Reads special with an author interview.
Vermont Reads As Long As There Are Mountains Information Packet
Vermont Reads Media Partner